the spectacular Albuquerque River of Lights

Albuquerque River of Lights

The Albuquerque River of Lights is New Mexico’s largest holiday event. This holiday tradition features colorful twinkling Christmas lights, animated sculptures, and over 800 displays.

With crisp weather and an abundance of things to do, there is no place for a holiday getaway quite like Albuquerque. Our one-of-a-kind Southwest destination becomes a wonderland of activity each winter, and visitors from all over flock to our city to enjoy the cooler weather and festivities. Here is everything you need to know about this year’s Albuquerque River of Lights and how to get the most out of your experience.

Find more ways to celebrate the season when you request your free copy of our Albuquerque Vacation Guide! It’s filled with all the best recommendations for things to do and enjoy during your visit, including annual events like the Albuquerque River of Lights.

2 of the most important things to know about the Albuquerque River of Lights

1. when and where–purchase tickets online in advance

The River of Lights of Albuquerque 2023 will take place in 2023 from November 25th to December 30th at the ABQ BioPark.  The hours of the event run from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and they are closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  River of Lights requires a reserved timed ticket, available for purchase online only ( The hour time slot required for your purchase is your entry window of time rather than the amount of time you have to visit the event. Check in anytime during your arrival hour and stay as long as you would like (until closing time).

2. what you’ll see at the Albuquerque River of Lights

There’s something for everyone at the Albuquerque River of Lights! Stroll through the park and admire all the dazzling and creative light displays. Synchronized light shows, 3-D sculptures, food and beverages, concessions, and holiday nature crafts all contribute to a spectacular experience.  No wonder the Albuquerque River of Lights has been recognized as one of the “Top 15 Holiday Light Displays in the United States.”

The River of Lights began in 1997 and has grown and improved over the years to become everyone’s favorite holiday event. Every year, the River of Lights gets bigger and better as new displays are created and old ones are refurbished. A crew of 10 starts setting up for the River of Lights in mid-September. There are over 200 miles of twinkle lights, 100,000 cable ties, and 12 miles of extension cords!

more holiday events you won’t want to miss

Albuquerque offers endless opportunities for fun during the holiday season!  The Luminaria Tour is a favorite local tradition that takes place every year on Christmas Eve.  Tickets go on sale in November and sell out quickly! Hop on a bus and enjoy a relaxing ride through Albuquerque to view countless luminarias decorating the city. The Old Town Holiday Stroll is another fantastic option.  It features live entertainment, dancing, games, and the tree lighting!

plan the ultimate winter getaway with the Bottger Mansion of Old Town

River of Lights
Bottger Mansion front door at Christmas

Say, “adios” to the typical Albuquerque hotels and say “hola” to the Bottger Mansion of Old Town! Not only do we house our guests in one of the area’s most historic buildings, but we provide modern luxuries that create truly unforgettable experiences. Browse our specials and packages to find out how you can enjoy more from your vacation for less or book your stay with us today!

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to request your free copy of our Albuquerque Vacation Guide! It’s the ultimate tool in planning a getaway to the Southwest that you won’t soon forget.

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Give The Gift of Bottger Mansion This Christmas

Give your loved one a very special gift of a stay at Bottger Mansion.  We offer gift certificates in many amounts.